Recipe: Lamb and Rice Koftas with Tahini Sauce

Koftas are a popular meat dish enjoyed in many countries and with good reason; they are deliciously satisfying. This version fuses seasoned lamb with rice and is drizzled with refreshing tahini yogurt sauce. Perfect for grilling – indoors or out, consider serving Koftas at a summer party accompanied with a fresh salad and pita bread.

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup plain Greek or Balkan-style yogurt    125 mL
3 tbsp tahini    45 mL
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice    22 mL
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil    15 mL
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or dill    30 mL
Pinch each salt and cayenne pepper    Pinch

Lamb Koftas:
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts or cashews    125 mL
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley    60 mL
2 green onions, chopped    2
1 egg    1
1 clove garlic, chopped    1
1 tsp each dried mint, ground coriander and paprika    5 mL
1/2 tsp salt    2 mL
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and freshly ground pepper    1 mL
1 cup cooked and cooled U.S. white or brown rice    250 mL
1 lb ground lamb    500 g
2 pieces naan bread, halved    2
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion    60 mL
12 cherry tomatoes, halved    12
4 radishes, thinly sliced    4


Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

In small bowl, mix together yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, half of the parsley, the salt and cayenne. Stir in 3 tbsp (45 mL) water, or enough to make a thick yet pourable consistency; set aside.

Lamb Koftas:

In food processor, purée pistachios, parsley, green onions, 3 tbsp (45 mL) water, egg, garlic, mint, coriander, paprika, salt, cinnamon and pepper until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Transfer to bowl; stir in rice until combined. Add lamb, mixing well.

Divide into 8 portions; form each into elongated egg shape. Thread 1 kofta onto each of 8 metal or soaked wooden skewers. Grill skewers, covered, on greased grill or in greased grill pan (if in grill pan, omit skewers) over medium heat, turning twice to create 3 sides, until no longer pink inside, 10 to 12 minutes.

Grill naan bread until warmed through, about 30 seconds; transfer to plates, along with two skewers each. Scatter red onion, tomatoes, radishes and remaining parsley on top. Serve with Tahini yogurt sauce drizzled overtop.

Makes: 4 servings

PER SERVING (2 koftas with naan and sauce): 681 calories, 38 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 137 mg cholesterol, 1020 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrates, 5 g fibre, 39 g protein. % RDI: 17% calcium, 52% iron, 9% vitamin A, 33% vitamin C.

SOURCE: USA Rice Federation,